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Node.js Advantages: Why It’s A Smart Choice for Software Development

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Unless you are a software developer that lives under a rock, almost every engineer uses or has heard about JavaScript; it’s arguably the most popular programming language right now, according to a recent survey.

 

Developers love JavaScript for many reasons but topping the list is flexibility, scalability, and ease of use. However, JavaScript hasn’t always been this cool and sexy. It was initially handicapped because it only served client-side development purposes until Node.js came to the rescue.

 

Before the creation of Node.js, programmers had to deploy other programming languages for backend operation if they chose to adopt JavaScript for the front end. Using Node.js, programmers can now create command-line tools and write server-side code that generates dynamic web pages with JavaScript. In essence, Node.js allows programmers to develop both the back-end and front-end sides with Javascript.  Innovation at its finest!

 

But in truth, Node.js is not technically a programming language nor a framework, so what is it? We’ll dig in on this question below and outline the key advantages and disadvantages for startups and high-growth companies when it comes to using Node.js.

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What is Node.js ?

Node.js is a popular open-source, JavaScript-based runtime environment that enables the use and execution of JavaScript language on the server side. It is employed in server-side programming and is primarily used with non-blocking, event-driven systems.

 

Indeed, in a recent Stack Overflow developer survey, over 45% of developers voted Node.js as the most common web technology.

So what makes Node.js so popular? The event-driven, non-blocking asynchronous architecture, which operates on the V8 JavaScript runtime engine, makes it effective, lightweight, and ideal for real-time and web applications with continuous input/output processes.

 

Node. js optimizes JavaScript to become a full-stack programming language because it allows the use of JS for server-side development. As a result, you do not have to engage separate developers for front-end and back-end operations, saving you time and money. 

 

But what is the essence of the V8 engine, and what is it?

 

JavaScript has a unique syntax that is human-readable, so the V8 acts as an interpreter that translates the JavaScript language into computer language so that commands can be understood and processed by the computer. Web browsers like Chrome embed the V8 engine to process and run JavaScript codes.

 

In the past, only web browsers that had the interpreter (like the V8 engine) made JavaScript useful only for front-end processes.  Well, the creators of Node.js integrated the V8 protocol, enabling the V8 to now be utilized outside a web browser. This means that a computer, even without a web browser but with Node.js, can process JavaScript, thus enabling it to be used for server-side coding too.  Cool!

 

So let’s now dive deep into the advantages and disadvantages of Node.js.

The reasons behind the popularity of Node.js

the popularity of Node.js

There are many important benefits of using Node.js, including :

Fast and easy scalability

Web services are typically I/O systems and require enhanced performance and scalability to execute commands smoothly and without lags. But the truth is building scalable applications is easier said than done, especially with regard to I/O execution. Node handles this easier, faster, and smoother because of its single-threaded, event-based architecture.

 

More specifically, the single-thread, non-blocking loop approach allows for load balancing, offering excellent scalability and enabling the backend servers to execute requests without delays. It can also handle multiple commands simultaneously, which enhances performance and operational scalability. In fact, recent studies show that Node.js can improve a system’s performance by up to 50%. Not bad!

 

Lastly, Node.js allows you to quickly add more nodes to the existing base for extended functions and effectively supports microservices architecture for future expansion.

 

So as a startup seeking to launch an efficient web application with room for future improvements, Node.js is a great option to consider.

Highly flexible

Demands on companies are constantly changing (especially those in software), and if your startup is going to make it through the fire then operations and applications must be optimized for swift adaptation. Deploying Node.js makes it easy, fast, and inexpensive to implement changes and adapt to newer dynamics.

 

Most importantly, Node.js can be quickly modified, and when there are new adaptations, only the affected node is impacted. This is contrary to most other runtime environments that demand a complete reworking of the monolith for any little adjustment.

 

Node.js also supports the JSON format, which allows developers to deploy built-in APIs to communicate with other servers or clients.

Faster speed to market

One of the major advantages a startup can leverage is the ability to deliver quality web products quickly, especially when compared to lumbering industry giants. And building with Node.js brings you a few steps closer to achieving this advantage. Here’s how…

 

First, Node.js is generally lightweight and doesn’t require as many resources as other runtime environments; this makes it easy to expedite web app development activities and deliver on schedule.

 

Second, it is open source, so your team can leverage the continuous contributions and existing resources of other experts, which makes work easier and faster. You don’t have to build from scratch every time.

Easy to learn

According to the recent Stack overflow developer survey, Node.js is the most common web technology for over 52% of people learning to code. This means more than half of the learning community is using Node!  Believe in the wisdom of crowds…

Source

This isn’t surprising since Node.js is based on JavaScript, which is known as one of the most developer-friendly programming languages available. This makes it easy to learn and implement Node.js.

 

Finally, there are tons of –mostly free! – learning materials, videos, and resources all over the web that teach Node.js, meaning easy access to information.

Strong user community

The Node.js community is a very active group of like-minded individuals who continually lend their expertise, opinions, and thoughts to the continuous development and advancement of Node.js.

 

The community is a repertoire of useful open source codes that you can deploy if and when needed. So if your team is working with Node.js and they run into difficulty, chances are that there are already solutions waiting on sharing platforms like GitHub.

Full Stack Development

Speaking the same language is not only helpful for humans but also for computers; it makes communication and collaboration fluid and effective. 

 

But before Node.js, it was impractical to use JavaScript for backend programming due to a lack of streamlined communication.  Companies that deployed JavaScript for the client side would need to use another programming language for the server-side. This was quite stressful and often led to complications and longer development time because you would need to hire separate development teams for client-side and server-side.

 

Node.js solved this problem by making it possible to use JavaScript for full-stack development. JavaScript developers can now deploy the language for front-end and back-end operations, making web development easier and more efficient.

Quick caching

Node.js can cache data very efficiently because it uses its in-app memory to cache queries. As a result, the nodes may continue to operate effectively and are not slowed down by past data when requests are executed once and then repeated.

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Disadvantages of using Node.js for software development

Though there are many great things about Node.js, nothing in life is perfect (except for perhaps donuts).

 

Here are some possible challenges you may encounter with deploying Node.js:

Unstable APIs

There have been numerous updates to the Node.js application user interface and not every modification is compatible with earlier versions. So to retain compatibility with the most recent release of the Node.js API, developers must implement alterations to the access code. This can be challenging and hinder efficiency.

Weak library support

Since Node.js is open source, various people make contributions, and not all of these contributions are high quality. There are often reports of low-quality registries and incomplete documentation, among other problems. Also, there is inadequate support for some of the complex operations of the runtime environment.

Poor performance with heavy CPU-bound tasks

For now, Node.js does not support multi-threaded coding; as a result, it may not be suitable for complex computing. When a CPU-driven command is initiated, Node.js uses all of its available CPU power to execute the task, thus impeding the overall performance and causing a delay in the event loop.

 

However, Node.js released an update in 2018 to address this issue. It was called the “worker threads” module and enabled programmers to run multiple threads concurrently. With this, heavy processes can be executed through various threads.

 

Unfortunately, this solution is still in its early stages and cannot guarantee efficiency with CPU-bound computations. Nevertheless, it is promising and could be a complete solution if fully developed.

Problematic Callbacks

With Node.js, there are many call-back operations (aka the processes that occur after every task has been executed). The callback challenge occurs when many executable tasks are in the loop with all their callback functions waiting. In this situation, several callbacks may be layered within other callbacks, leading to poor code and making It difficult to maintain the program.

High demand yet unmatched availability of experts.

No doubt, Node.js programmers are in high demand; in fact, it is the most widely used web tool in the United States, with over 6 million websites implementing its protocol. The high usage implies that more employers and companies need the services of Node.js experts. Unfortunately, there is a scarcity of these professionals to match the increasing demand. 

 

And making this problem worse is that knowledge of JavaScript does not mean automatic expertise in Node.js.

But never fear, TurnKey is here. We’ll get you the best offshore Node.js team so you can be off to the races.

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Typical use cases for Node.js

Node.js is awesome for a reason: it has a wide range of use cases.  Here are the most common ones:

Streaming platforms

Node.js has a default Stream API, thus making it a great platform for creating streaming apps. It features a very efficient interface with readable and writable streams that can be processed and analyzed. Besides the native stream API, Node.js is also lightweight and fast in execution which is needed for streaming. Not surprisingly, top streaming platforms like Netflix deploy this tool.

Real-time web applications

Node’s event-based and non-blocking architecture is ideal for real-time collaboration programs. These programs support a large number of concurrent events and requests. And these events or commands are able to execute immediately so that there is continuous flow among users. Node.js sends push notifications and makes instant updates to implement any change among users.

Social media and messaging apps

Social media platforms and messaging apps typically require real-time, continuous flow operability to enable live transmission between parties. Node’s robust event API makes it easy to achieve the needed efficiency and synchronized flow between users.

Remote presentation platforms

Remote presentation platforms often require a real-time collaborative interface to enable live video and text messaging communication. Also, other important features like file sharing, push notifications, etc., are necessary for smooth operation. Such applications work best when on a lightweight but adaptable codebase, which is what Node.js offers.

Multiplayer video games

Developing intuitive gaming programs with enhanced features like communication, collaboration, and live competition between remote players can be challenging with the wrong web tool. The swiftness and efficiency of Node make it ideal for executing such gaming operations and multiplayer interactions.

Why Node.js is ideal for your startup

Hopefully by now you’ve come to recognize the ease and power of Node.js.  But let’s summarize some of the key reasons why Node.js likely makes a ton of sense for startups and high growth companies.

  • Easier development process: With Node.JS, web development is robust and only requires a minimal amount of coding to deliver a finished product. According to industry experts, Node.js enables 33% fewer lines of code than comparable platforms. This makes the app or software much lighter and efficient, and with faster deployment cycles.
  • Easier development process: As previously mentioned, Node.js transforms the JavaScript code into a machine-readable format using Google's V8 JavaScript engine. Execution becomes quick and simple as a result, and when combined with the non-blocking design, code execution is greatly accelerated. For example, the LinkedIn app became 10x faster on the client side after implementing the runtime environment.
  • Faster data streaming: Data streams act as a link between the data storage location and the processing location. With Node.js streams, data is read and continually written. Unlike conventional methods of reading or writing data, Node.js streams don't require the data to be read and stored in memory before processing. This greatly enhances efficiency and performance.
  • Enables cross-platform operability: For startups seeking cross-platform operability with less code time and a limited budget, Node.js also serves as a cross-platform runtime environment. Node.js allows you to reuse parts of your existing code to embed in other operating systems. This eliminates the need to start creating codes for other systems from scratch, thereby reducing development costs and time.
  • Provides multi-threading benefits: Although Node.js operates an event loop single-threaded infrastructure for I/O operations, it still can create multiple threads known as ‘worker threads.’ These worker threads are used to execute extensive CPU-based tasks.
  • Asynchronous and event-driven: Event-driven programming orchestrates the occurrence of numerous events while also attempting to keep the platform as streamlined as possible. The asynchronous nature of Node.js also ensures that multiple requests are processed simultaneously and smoothly. This enhances delivery and performance.
  • Lower development cost: Node.js eliminates the need to hire different developers to handle the front end and back end. Developers versed in both Node.js application development and JavaScript can handle full-stack development, thereby saving costs and time. Recent findings indicate that this tool can reduce development costs by up to 58%.

How TurnKey can help you supercharge your software development process with Node.js

Implementing Node.js in your development process means that you’ll need to hire Node.js developers. And as a startup looking to find great talent and save costs, hiring offshore is usually your best bet.

 

But the question is, how do you go about it?

 

Without adequate knowledge or guidance, you could quickly become upside down. But it could even be worse offshore because you will have to deal with foreign laws, time zones, and maybe even another language.

But don’t let that scare you away from enjoying the numerous benefits of offshoring. All you need is a tried and trusted partner to handle the offshoring process – like TurnKey!

 

At TurnKey, we redesigned the offshoring concept to serve you better; we call It Yourshoring.

 

We created Yourshoring because offshoring too often becomes a team of developers who are more like contractors without real collaboration or integration.

 

But Yourshoring changes that narrative by imbuing an ownership culture and true collaboration in offshore teams. Here’s how:

 

  • Most offshore firms make you hire their team, our Yourshore model finds a custom team just for you.
  • Most offshore firms are in control of the development team, our Yourshore model ensures that you are always 100% in control of your team.
  • Most offshore firms don’t integrate the development team into your culture, our Yourshore model ensures that the dev team is fully embedded in your culture.
  • Most offshore firms make you play by their rules, our Yourshore model ensures that your development team plays by your rules only.

And at TurnKey, we not only provide you with an amazing dedicated development team but we also offer world class customer service.  This means you will never be left in the dark on your journey to offshore success, whether it revolves around Node.js or any other technology.

Final Thoughts

The software development world is replete with an alphabet soup of options, ranging from tools, programming languages, frameworks, and more. Node.js is among the most popular development tools due to its extensive use cases and high return on investment.

 

So if you are a startup or high growth company aiming to scale more quickly while spending less, Node.js is your winning ticket.

Are you drinking the TurnKey Kool-Aid yet? We won’t let you down.

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FAQ

What is Node.js, and why is it used?

Node.js is an open-source, JavaScript-based runtime environment that enables the use and execution of JavaScript language on the server side. It is employed in server-side programming and is primarily used with non-blocking, event-driven systems.  The reason most developers use it is because it allows for the same language to be used for both the front-end and backend development.

Is Node.js in high demand?

Node.js is very popular; in fact, over 6 million websites implement this web tool in the United States alone, making it one of the most used languages. Developers need Node.js because It transforms the JavaScript code into a machine-readable format using Google's V8 JavaScript engine. This ensures that the same language can be used for both the front-end and backend development.

Why is Node.js faster than other languages?

The non-blocking I/O architecture is primarily what makes Node.js operate so fast. It uses a single asynchronous thread to process and execute all requests. As a result, there is reduced memory usage, less CPU work, and less traffic congestion.

Which is better, Python or Node.js?

Node.js and Python are both popular technologies for backend development. Python is more suited for back-end applications, heavy computations, and machine learning, while Node is better for web app development, website development, and cross-platform integration. In the end, your choice would be dependent on your specific development needs.

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Content creator

May Ohiri

Software Development Expert

I’m a medical doctor who also loves to write (yeah, I know what you’re thinking already), but I’ve always been passionate about technology. I believe the key to creating greater technical knowledge is simplifying software development into concepts everyone can understand. When I’m not writing, I’m either playing video games or exploring the world through travel.

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